miércoles, 25 de febrero de 2009

Organ Donation 01

As I have written some time here and always say, I feel a special person, with a strong mystical-astrological connection or something like that.
And also, in a more earthly-medicinal field I'm a proud organ donor that always is defending that cause. I think that there isn't a more solidarity and loving gesture that a human being could do, helping other to live more and/or better.
Organ's donation, actually don't know very well why, always seemed to me that was what Jesuschrist meant when said: "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends". (John 15, 13).
But that is a Catholic vision... what would other religions think?, how would the faithful of other beliefs feel?. So I started to look for if other ideologies, if the followers of other creeds also share this human brotherhood idea.
I found in this book: Into the Jaws of Yama, Lord of Death wrote by Karma Lekshe Tsomo, and talking about Buddhism, bioethics and death a chapter called: Buddhism and Organ Transplantation.
Karma Lekshe Tsomo - Into the Jaws of Yama, Lord of Death Buddhism, Bioethics, And Death
The practice of donating one’s vital organs for medical research or for transplantation by surgical means has become increasingly common in recent decades, but the ethical issues raised by the practice have yet to be thoroughly discussed in Buddhist circles. In conversations with Buddhists of various backgrounds, most respondents spontaneously supported the idea of donating one’s vital organs to save someone’s life as consistent with Buddhist values of generosity and loving kindness. Followers of the Theravada and the Japanese Zen tradition emphasized that, from a Buddhist point of view, the body is merely a collection of disposable parts that has no usefulness after death. The body will be burned or will decompose after we die anyway, so why not use it to benefit others? They believed that a person’s consciousness leaves the body at the time of death, so there is no harm in touching, washing, or cutting the body. A person after death is just a corpse—a heap of dead skin, bones, flesh, and other components destined to disintegrate. In Theravada Buddhist cultures, it is nevertheless customary to wash the body, dress it in fresh clothes, and leave it lying in state for some time (usually one to three days) until the time of cremation. These customs vary depending on the locality, the status of the deceased, the climate, and the wishes of survivors.
Mahayana informants have tended to emphasize the value of human life for spiritual practice. Because a human rebirth is difficult to attain, highly perishable, and essential for progressing on the path to enlightenment, practitioners regarded organ donation as an excellent way to create merit through the practice of compassion. To donate a vital organ gives another person the chance to have a longer life and to use it meaningfully for Dharma practice. After death, one’s vital organs are no longer useful, so they may as well be used to benefit others. As one bumper sticker reads: “Recycle yourself. Be an organ donor.” Organ donation is considered a valuable opportunity on several levels. First, to donate one’s body for research or organ transplantation is a way to sever attachment to one’s own body. Second, to place another person’s welfare above one’s own is a perfect expression of the bodhisattva ethic of compassion. Third, to donate one’s organs with the pure motivation to benefit others will bring great fruits of merit in future lives, enabling one to gain a fortunate rebirth and further opportunities for Dharma practice; if the gift is dedicated to the enlightenment of all beings, the fruits are immeasurable. Buddhist informants from a wide variety of ethnicities and traditions stressed the power of an organ donor’s motivation. To donate them for the sake of money or reputation is a defiled motivation.
(...) Overall, the intent to donate one’s body parts to charity is congruent with the Buddhists’ compassionate ideal. It meets with resistance only in those cultures influenced by the Confucian reluctance to disfigure the body. This reluctance accounts for the relatively low rate of organ donors in East Asian societies. Attitudes are changing, but the State of Hawai’i, with its large Asian population, still has the lowest rate of organ donations in the United States. Recent efforts by Buddhists to encourage organ donation in Korea and Taiwan have been remarkably successful, however. In all these cases, it is assumed that an organ donor is motivated purely by the thought to benefit, not money or reputation.
Two questions remain that may cause Buddhists to hesitate in agreeing to organ donation. First, if the organs must be harvested before the vital signs cease, this will cause the death of the patient, which is unfortunate for both the medical technician and the patient. Second, even if the organs are harvested after the vital signs cease, the procedure may disturb the dying person’s consciousness and lead to an unfortunate rebirth. One’s state of mind during the process of dying is of crucial importance for determining one’s future rebirth. Ridding oneself of personal attachments and antipathies before the time of death helps make the transition to the next life easier. Prayers may be offered to benefit the deceased in the next life. To die in an angry state of mind, on the other hand, can lead to a hellish rebirth. Manuals such as Liberation by Hearing in the Intermediate State (Bar do tho drol) describe the terrifying visions and sensations a person may experience during the dying process and provide instructions about how to traverse the intermediate state without fear, anger, or trepidation. With such manuals as a guide, practitioners can train their minds beforehand and prepare themselves to die intelligently and consciously.
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